Stakeholders united in the charge for transformation: Plan S and the Open Access 2020 Initiative

The Open Access movement has received an enormous boost today with the launch of Science Europe’s 10 principles of Plan S, devised by Robert-Jan Smits, the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission. Already 11 national research funding organisations have agreed to implement the 10 principles of Plan S in a coordinated way, forming cOAlition S, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC).

This decisive action on behalf of the research funding community reinforces the efforts of the Open Access 2020 Initiative, constituting a strategic alignment in the drive to accelerate the transition to open access with concrete measures aimed at removing our financial support of a scholarly communication system based on paywalled subscriptions.

By designating the ‘hybrid’ model of publishing as not compliant with the principles of Plan S, the funding bodies of cOAlition S are putting an end to “double dipping” and, thus, increasing the leverage power of their investments in precisely the same way that national consortia are using their subscription expenditures as leverage to inject open access into license negotiations. Like the successful flanking tactics in the Battle at Marathon, research funding organizations and research performing institutions (via their libraries and consortia) are now working on both sides of the scholarly communication chain to rein in the expenditures flowing to subscription publishers and lay siege to paywalls.

Recognizing the work of the Open Access 2020 Initiative and those research performing organizations that are taking active steps to convert their subscription expenditures into funds that support open access publishing, the President of Science Europe, Marc Schiltz specifically acknowledges transformative agreements (publish and read, offsetting, etc.) as a valuable, complementary strategy in the Preamble to Plan S:

We acknowledge that ‘transformative’ type of agreements, where subscription fees are offset against publication fees, may contribute to accelerate the transition to full Open Access. Therefore, it is acceptable that, during a transition period that should be as short as possible, individual funders may continue to tolerate publications in ‘hybrid’ journals that are covered by such a ‘transformative’ type of agreement.

As Schiltz further states, “There is no valid reason to maintain any kind of subscription-based business model for scientific publishing in the digital world, where Open Access dissemination is maximising the impact, visibility, and efficiency of the whole research process.”

A new, open paradigm in scholarly communication starts with a commitment to remove financial support of the subscription system. As Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research Science and Innovation has stated, “Now is the time for us to act collectively to make [open access] a reality.”



On the effectiveness of APCs – outcomes of the 3rd ESAC workshop, Munich

Thanks to the great support from the workshop participants, the ESAC Initiative is happy to publish the final report of the 3rd ESAC workshop held in Munich last month, “On the effectiveness of APCs”:

While a significant portion of open access journals operate on independent funding mechanisms, the Article Processing Charge (APC), originally pioneered by BioMed Central as a means to secure the financial viability of journals, has grown to be one of the most prevalent business models in open access publishing, adopted by well-established pure open access publishers such as PLoS, MDPI, Hindawi, Frontiers and beyond. With the steady growth of open access publishing in recent years, particularly by traditional subscription publishers via hybrid article publishing options, born-OA journals such as Nature Communications and Scientific Reports, and transformative agreements (ie offsetting, publish and read, etc.) the need for close monitoring and control of processes, standards and workflows related to Article Processing Charges (APCs) has become crucial. Through such work academic and research libraries have the opportunity and, indeed, the responsibility to exercise oversight and management of APCs to ensure the best interests of their researchers and institutions are served.


European High-Level summit meeting on Open Access negotiations

A summit meeting was held on the topic of publisher negotiations in the context of open access strategies, conceived by the OA2020 Initiative and co-convened and hosted by the German Rectors’ Conference, at which a number of high-level representatives from national research funding bodies, university associations, rectors conferences, and national library consortia from Europe and[…]

Some short answers to big questions

The open access landscape is highly complex, and the academic community does well to reflect on the ambitions, progress and impact of the many approaches that are working toward an open information environment. To illustrate the unique and essential role of the Open Access 2020 Initiative in this landscape, here are brief answers to some important questions for consideration, which we hope will facilitate a greater understanding of OA2020 and facilitate further collaboration. […]

Growing support for OA2020 in the US

In recent weeks, three further US institutions have joined the OA2020 Initiative, aiming to transform a majority of today’s scholarly journals from subscription to OA publishing. The University of North Texas, Iowa State University and the University of California, Riverside join the over 100 institutions and research organizations worldwide that are committed to accelerating the[…]